But as Pence prepares to address nearly 10,000 delegates — called messengers — at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting here on Wednesday, a small but significant slice is opposing his appearance.

Younger Southern Baptists in particular — a rising force with the election on Tuesday of J.D. Greear, 45, as the new president of the denomination — are wary of appearing too close to the GOP and detracting from their main mission: winning souls for Jesus.

“By associating publicly with any administration,” Garrett Kell, lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Virginia, told his fellow delegates Tuesday morning on the convention floor, “we send a mixed message to our members that to be faithful to the Gospel is to also align with that administration.”